tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC May 5, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PDT
good morning, everyone, i'm alex witt here in new york at msnbc world headquarters, here's what's happening right now. when did he find out? new reporting about when president trump learned of michael cohen's payment to stormy daniels. and it does not match what he said on air force one. another new report about michael cohen and the $700,000 he had access to during the trump presidential campaign. the ripple effect from rudy giuliani's media blitz and whether america's mayor still has the president's confidence. plus -- >> we have laws that were written by people that truly could not love our country. >> the president talked about immigration to supporters as special protections end for more than 50,000 people living in the u.s. with another good day, we're
beginning with a live picture of the white house, where the president is getting ready to leave for a trip to cleveland. eats going to head there to campaign ahead of tuesday's primary election in ohio. but the president leaves behind the fallout over the alleged hush money payment to stormy daniels and when the president became aware of it. two people familiar with the payment arrangement told "the new york times" that the president knew about it months before he denied it to reporters on air force one last month. although it was not immediately clear exactly when the president learned of that payment. joining me on the phone jim wittenberg who broke the story with his colleagues at "the new york times." jim, good morning and welcome to you. let's talk about the significance of the president's denials when your reporting and that of your colleagues, indicates that he actually did know about the $130,000 payment to daniels. >> well, yes, we have established that he knew about the payment at the time he denied it. in april on air force one. that one of those rare times when he spoke about it. it was actually the first time
he spoke about it. so i would say that you know, i still think we have a lot to learn about the timeline of who knew what when. so this is ongoing reporting. >> is there a chance that these denials suggested all to you that the president believed the payments were somehow improper? >> i mean the complicated thing in a story like this as we saw in the john edwards case is there are two issues, right? there is his personal family issue, and one would assume that he would clearly not want news of an affair and news of a payment to quiet an affair to get to his wife in a credible way. so that would be a reason to deny it. but another reason to deny it would be if this was done, with an eye on his election prospects, in which case, that payment to stormy daniels, many people believe and this is being investigated, would have been an
illegal campaign contribution. >> uh-huh. >> here's a very interesting angle from your reporting. notes that the trump organization's cfo, alan weiselberg, knew about these reimbursements to michael cohen. but it's been stated again and again, and i'm been under the impression that cohen was acting in his personal capacity. so the trump organization get dragged into the probe and if so, how dangerous is that? >> from federal prosecutor, former and current and former federal prosecutor types would tell you that any time something new enters an investigation, especially such a wide-ranging investigation, the investigation into michael cohen is very wide ranging, whatever comes across the transom could be a new avenue of investigation. could you see them having an opening to asking more questions of people at the trump organization and maybe even then moving on to other matters
within the trump organization. i want to say, though, that all we are able to report at this point is here's another person in that organization who at least knew about the reimbursals, people close to this gentleman tell us he didn't know what they were for or what cohen was doing. but every time the trump organization enters the picture, it has to make the president's lawyers a little more uncomfortable. >> so the report says that the trump team is trying to reconcile all of these various claims made by trump and giuliani and giuliani saying the president may not have known his reimbursements were specifically for payment to daniels. is it possible, jim, that the president spent hundreds of thousands of dollars paying cohen back, without knowing what that money is for? is that a valid explanation? >> well, definitely now the $420,000 question, right? that's the amount of money we are now told and this number keeps shifting.
the explanations keep shifting. $420,000 all told was paid to michael cohen. even regardless of what the president did or didn't know and we'll find out, i believe, if this goes on, what was the rest of the money for? the stormy daniels payment was $130,000. so i think that, journalistically, we would very much like to know what was the rest of the money for. and but i imagine the federal prosecutors are even more focused on that. and they're the ones who will have access to materials from michael cohen and may be able to get to the bottom of that. >> one description is out of pocket expenses during the campaign. that's a lot of money. >> incidental expenses. >> okay. jim rutanberg thank you very much for phoning in on this story. nbc news white house correspondent kelly o'donnell joins us now. can we ask you to bring us up to
speed on what's transpired in the last 24 hours, please? >> there's a lot to talk about, we hope within this hour we'll have an opportunity to at least see the president, try to ask him some questions. as he heads to marine one on the south lawn. off to cleveland as you indicated, there is a primary tuesday, he's got a fundraiser there. and a conversation, they call them roundtables these days, about the tax cuts. the president will be working today. he will be on the road. we'll be learning about new reporting that deals with the president wanting to be at the center of his own defense. s that been bubbling up in recent days and reporting about michael cohen. a long-time personal friend, fixer, lawyer of the president and the way that he secured more available cash. new this morning, "the wall street journal" reports trump lawyer michael cohen dramatically beefed up his access to cash during the 2016 campaign year. by increasing his home equity
lines of credit to more than $774,000. the "journal" reports those transactions are under scrutiny by federal investigators. cohen previously said he used home equity funds to pay adult film actress, stormy daniels to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter that the president denies. >> we're not changing any stories. >> defiant friday, president trump tried clean-up on his own legal team. undercutting rudy giuliani with kindness. >> rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago. but he really has his heart into it. >> friday, giuliani tried to clarify his bombshell media tour. where he said the president recently learned monthly payments he made to cohen actually did reimburse cohen for the stormy daniels hush money contract. giuliani back-tracked. my references to timing were not describing the president's knowledge, but instead, my
understanding of these matters. after giuliani suggested the daniels' payout would have hurt the campaign -- >> imagine if that came out on october 15th, 2016, the middle of the last debate with hillary clinton. >> giuliani claimed it was only personal, not political. the payment was made to protect the president's family. it would have been done whether he was a candidate or not. so we know the president now acknowledges he did so through a tweet that the reimbursements to michael cohen over a period of time, monthly payments to him, did include money that ultimately reimbursed cohen for the stormy daniels payment. what the president has backed away from is when did he know of that new information. when did he know that money he was paying cohen was specifically for this purpose? giuliani had told everyone this week that it was within the last couple of weeks. which would be important in the timeline. because in early april, the president still said publicly, no, he knew nothing about this.
but the president saying no, we're not changing that story and they're moving away from that point of when did the president know. they apparently still want to try to preserve a question mark on that issue. it will be something that will be continue to be pursued. not only by investigators, but journalists as we try to learn more about what the president knew and when. alex? >> as events in the conversation proceeding with this, kelly o'donnell at the white house, thank you. joining me now, kaitlyn burns, political reporter for real clear politics and eugene scott, political reporter for the "washington post." good morning to you both. we'll go ladies first here, kaitlyn. no doubt the changes in the white house's version of the stormy daniels payment story, that's created a lot of confusion, it's hard for the public to keep up. does that in a way help trump. >> it could be part of a larger strategy to the extent that there was one. remember, that earlier this week. the president really shuffled his legal team as it pertains to
the mueller investigation. and there was a sense that the president and giuliani got together and wanted to take a more aggressive stance against mueller. and giuliani's multiple interviews are reflective of that. the problem is they both have completely muddied the waters here. and you know, politically, that may be something that they were aiming for. but it also exposes additional legal liabilities perhaps. and additional political fallout. and the question today as it has been for the past several days, is what is the white house's credibility any more? and that really matters. not only in terms of this story, but in terms of you know, the north korea negotiations are in the backdrop of all this. negotiations with china over trade. it's very important of course, the credibility of the white house still matters. and you cannot at this point really trust what the president
is saying. you can't really trust what sarah sanders from the podium is saying, because of all of these conflicting timelines and versions of different kinds of things. >> it's extraordinary that you even have to utter the phrase "the credibility of the white house" still matters. it's unbelievable. anyway, eugene, i'm clearing what you're hearing about the dynamics between trump and giuliani. do you think giuliani has the president's confidence in. >> certainly seems to, they have a longstanding relationship that goes back decades. giuliani is someone who really wanted to be on team trump once the president got in the white house. and it seems like perhaps one of the easiest ways for him to get on board. i'm not sure how exactly that he wanted to get on board. but here he is. i think he has a grace period. we've seen the president be patient with our people in his administration, who he knows far less than giuliani when they've made mistakes, i think of john kelly and even rex tillerson and
certainly jeff sessions. so i think as this investigation and situation moves forward, giuliani will become more aware of what it is that trump wants him to say and wants him to put forward. to keep this narrative as favorable to trump as possible. >> so msnbc's donny deutsch is a friend of and has spoken with michael cohen following giuliani's media tour and here's what donny said. >> i spoke with michael cohen yesterday and his comment about rudy giuliani that he doesn't know what he's talking about. he says there's two people who know what happened, and you'll be hearing my side of the story. he was obviously very frustrated with what had come out yesterday. >> so kaitlyn talk about complicated things in terms of the white house's defense. how much does it potentially do that? especially when cohen tells his side of the story? >> right. and remember cohen's case is outside trump's ability to
influence anything, right? his case is in the southern district of new york. and that's something i think that is very frustrating to the president. because it's outside of things that he can control at this point. and there was a sense to judging from the content of the giuliani interviews that there was perhaps some way to kind of signal to cohen, in terms of campaign finance laws, which giuliani was saying were not broken here. although there are multiple questions about whether they did in fact break any laws as it pertains to campaign finance after those interviews, raising more questions than answers, i think. but cohen here, there is a concern of course, and people have voiced this publicly, is that cohen would, would flip on the president of sorts. which also of course raised the question of flipping on what? and so the cohen part of this is at the center of this. and there are a lot of things that we just don't know at this point. the way in which the president is reacting shows some
anxiousness to say the least. >> eugene i want to get to something you've written about. the white joevangelicals, their unwavering support for the president, despite the sex scandals. but you've writ bn a shift in tune there. what's behind it? >> i think what's really important to remember. we often look at some groups that are on the trump train like white evangelicals and white working class voters and republicans and say they're already on board and are never getting off. we're seeing some polling numbers drop. specifically when it comes to white evangelicals. support among white evangelical women for trump is going down. and this really does matter. even if not so much for trump, but for the gop as a whole. because as we head into mid terms this fall, voters are going to ask themselves, do they want to put people in office and send to washington who are going to reinforce everything about the trump agenda that they find troublesome? or are they going to want to sit out? not necessarily vote for a
democrat, but are they just going to want to sit out? we have to remember that when it comes to these tribes, small percentage points really do matter. >> eugene scott, kaitlyn burns, thanks so much. next, impeachment talk, democrats think there's ammunition for it. a strong warning from a leading democrat, next. which is why we're helping to replenish the mighty rio grande as well as over 30 watersheds across the country. we're also leading water projects in more than 100 communities. and for every drop we use... we're working to give one back. because our products rely on the same thing as we all do... clean water. and we care about it like our business depends on it. is the fact that it's very, very tough on bacteria, yet it's very gentle on the denture itself. polident consists of 4 powerful ingredients that work together to deep clean your denture in hard to reach places.
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look at you. this tech stuff is easy. [ whirring sound ] you want a cookie? it's a drone! i know. find your phone easily with the xfinity voice remote. one more way comcast is working to fit into your life, not the other way around. if i'm the chairman of the judiciary committee, which is to say the democrats should win the house in january, that's what we will do.
we will start holding hearings on the behavior of the administration, on what they're doing on their adherence to law, on what if any legal changes we should make to, to promote the rule of law. and we'll see where it goes from there. >> a warning there from the ranking member of the judiciary committee, jerry nadler in an interview on msnbc last night. although stopping short of threatening impeachment. joining me here, akeem jeffreys of new york. we have house intel ranking member, adam schiff who wrote an op-ed in "the new york times," who basically said democrats do not take the bait here. when it comes to impeachment. what is the democrats' position now? i mean you read this, you read his logic behind it. what's the overall position? >> well there's a cloud of illegitimacy that is hanging over the white house right now. as a result of what may have occurred in terms of possible conspiracy and collusion between
the trump campaign and russian spies in connection with the interference that we all know took place during the 2016 election. there's a criminal investigation that's under way by bob mueller and the very experienced team of lawyers, we'll see what they come up with and present to the american people, and from that moment forward, we'll take the appropriate steps. >> just off the top of your head, you think about this and surmise the potential impact on the mid term elections. do you want impeachment to be a topic of discussion? do you think that will generate voters, democrats to come to the polls. might it do the same for republicans in defense of the president, thinking it's not fair and a witch hunt and all the things that the president states all the time. how do you see it playing out politically this year? >> what we're seeing is the president and his allies are the ones raising the spector of impeachment. they have nothing affirmative or positive to relate to in what they've accomplished or their vision for the american people
moving forward. democrats are focused on a better deal economic agenda, better jobs, better wages, better future for the american people. how do we get things done such as dramatically lowering the cost of prescription drugs for all americans. how do we strengthen the affordable care act. keep what works, make improvements to what needs to be fixed. how do we invest in infrastructure? we've got a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. that would create 16 million good-paying jobs, these are the things that democrats are focused on. >> it sounds to me like you want to focus on the issues and you don't necessarily want impeaching this president and the potential of that being top of mind. in your messaging. >> we have an ongoing investigation which we were able to successfully fight for. one. with jeff sessions to recuse himself. two getting a special counsel appointed. bob mueller is a republican, has a track record of being highly professional. well respected by democrats and republicans prior to his
appointment before the unprecedented attacks have been launched against him. let mueller do his job. >> well you've heard the president say as recently as yesterday. he would love to sit down with robert mueller and talk with him. if mueller issues a subpoena and the president refuses to talk, first of all, can he? and secondly, what then? >> well you know, can you really trust anything that donald trump or anyone from the white house has to say at any given moment? it's nothing but chaos, crisis and confusion, drama and dysfunction. at the end of the day, if the president wants to sit down with the special counsel, and share his thoughts on what took place as it relates to the collusion that looks likely to have occurred in my view and/or the obstruction of justice that may have occurred, in the aftermath of the acts around the 2016 campaign, then i think that's the appropriate thing to happen. and at the end of the day, bob mueller is going to release the report or communicate in some way to the department of justice
or the american people of the congress, his views on what took place. >> the american people are going to have to decide. who is telling the truth, donald trump or robert mueller. i know who i will believe in that particular context. >> okay. i want to get one more impeachment question out of the way here. i know you've been quite vocal with regard to the members of the freedom caucus who are drafting article of impeachment about rod rosenstein. >> there are people who have been making threats against me for quite some time and i think they should understand that the department of justice is not going to be distorted. any kind of threats that anybody makes are not going to affect the way we do our job. >> did you like what you heard there? >> i think it was the right statement, the department of justice, the fbi, our law enforcement officials should not be bullied by the bully in chief coming from 1600 pennsylvania
avenue and his co-conspirators on capitol hill who are just following orders. it's shameful what's taken place. i don't really know what this republican party stands for. they claim to be the party of the rule of law, they're regularly attacking the department of justice. claim to be the party of family values and promote someone like roy more. they claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility. they pass a tax cut that's going to jam up our children and grandchildren for the benefits of subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and shameless with massive tax cut. what do they stand for? it's all confusing. >> may i ask you about secretary ben carson's proposal to raise grants for those receiving public assistance. he told fox news this week that his critics are hysterical over the proposed changes and that rent reform gives poor people a way out of poverty. i mean there were, there were protests in new york city city hall against this kind of policy just yesterday. what are your thoughts here? >> i was there yesterday and joined by advocates and
residents who will be adversely impacted under the leadership of velasquez who called us together. and congressman espiayat. it will be shameful to impose this type of burden on low income tenants or working families who are already struggling in high-cost cities like new york to make ends meet. dr. carson should focus on the mission of the department of housing and urban development. which is affordable housing. what about "affordable" does he not understand? thank you for your comments on that. did robert mueller overstep when it comes to charges against paul manafort? we'll tell you why one judge may think so, next. kyle: mom! mom!
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we've done nothing wrong. there was no collusion with the russians. there was nothing. there was no obstruction. i have to find that we're going to be treated fairly. wait, wait. i have to find that we're going to be treated fairly. >> well this comes as the president's attorney, rudy giuliani, sets a list of parameters, including that an interview with robert mueller not last longer than two hours. joining me natasha bertrand, legal analyst katy phang and former federal prosecutor liam brennan. >> the negotiations with giuliani were to go south, do you think robert mueller should subpoena the president? and if he does, should the president plead the fifth? >> those are very big questions, alex. there is a question, legal question as to whether robert mueller can subpoena the president to testify before a grand jury during an investigation. but even in any criminal
investigation, if mr. mueller wants to ever possibly bring charges against the president, subpoenaing him to a grand jury to testify is a dangerous move it could risk the whole investigation and any subsequent prosecution, because if you force someone to testify under subpoena, and then you use that evidence to then prosecute them, you force them to give evidence against themself and that's a constitutional violation. so generally prosecutors don't subpoena people that they think they may bring charges against in the future. >> huh, interesting. >> katie, the list of questions for robert mueller, what do you have for the president, it was leaked this week. it includes five questions about michael flynn. 21 on the former firing of former fbi director james comey. got nine questions about jeff sessions. 14 about potential coordination with russia. so you add it up, where do you think mueller is going with these questions? >> you can tell that there's obviously a pretty wide net in terms of what he's cast.
in terms of the information he is seeking. but the fact that we've seen that there's a focus on those particular individuals, the transactions, interactions, communications with those particular individuals suggest that of course it is whether the obstruction of justice case or the obstruction of justice investigation is going to be pursued as hot and heavy as everybody thinks it is. remember, alex, every week we go back and forth. it's either the obstruction or the collusion or conspiracy to have russia basically be involved in the presidential election. what's key, alex about those questions and about the stuff that you just asked liam, is the fact that we now know that ty cobb is out, or will be out. and emmet flood is in. emmet flood was the lawyer who represented bill clinton during his own impeachment proceedings. emmet flood and his team went toe to toe with the special counsel ken starr and we know that emmet flood is a big fan of the executive privilege, which is often invoked by the president, his office, to be able to prevent subpoenas, disclosure of of information.
so if emmet flood takes more of a hard line in the sand with mueller and his team, giuliani as the surrogate for trump and the language that he uses when he does his media circles, we're going to see perhaps a more adversarial approach to the mueller investigation from the trump administration than we saw before. >> well something else to consider natasha, because giuliani has said that mueller definitely should back off on ivanka. don't involve her in this russia probe. do you agree with giuliani? and what are you hearing about the strategy from mueller so far as the trump family in general is concerned? >> he is saving them for last because he knows if he starts to go after trump's children now it's going to really, really annoy the president and it could completely derail any kind of negotiations that they're having now for him to sit down for an interview. if he goes after ivanka, jared of course as giuliani said, is disposable but if he goes after ivanka, he knows that that is going to anger the president. now she absolutely deserves scrutiny here because she was present for some of the most significant events that mueller
is investigating. of course she was there when the president decided to fire jim comey. she was a witness to the drafting of this misleading statement about the trump tower meeting. so she is at the center of all of this. so for her to avoid scrutiny by mueller, is not for now, is not a sign that she will never be questioned by him. but everyone that i've spoken to has said mueller is being very strategic about this. and making sure that he doesn't burn his bridges now when he needs to speak to the president. so ivanka of course is not, she doesn't deserve to be out of the spotlight here because she is not just the president's daughter. she is also his adviser. she has a white house position. so this is not a typical situation in which mueller would just be going after the family. he's going after a strategic adviser to the president. >> can i ask all of you about the back and forth between giuliani and his statement about the president's knowledge of $130,000 payment to stormy daniels and the preds back-tracking. your interpretation of all that and what it indicates? liam, you first.
>> when i first heard this, it seemed like a full-on assault on our campaign finance laws. the giuliani has not, though, given a clear explanation of what the president knew and when he knew it. and the president has muddied those waters as well. to say that he knew and reimbursed these payments and to go on "fox & friends" to say what if this came out during the debate with hillary clinton, that is what disclosure laws are for. if are you making payments to further your campaign, the public has a right to know. so this was meant to hide that and to keep that outside of public disclosure. if it was to forward the campaign. it does not matter whether or not it was campaign funds or not, it is a campaign expenditure or a campaign donation and it's supposed to be publicly reported. so they've created a very real legal problem for the president. and the last piece of the, important evidence what did the president know and when did he know it. >> natasha, 130,000 for stormy daniels. but monthly to michael cohen over $400,000 for -- incidental
expenses, the kinds of things he incurred during the campaign. what in the world? right? >> we really have no idea as of right now. i mean "the wall street journal" reported last night that he had almost $1 million to play with, kind of a splush fund from the president in order to fix any problem, in order to fix any problems that may have arisen during the campaign. michael cohen has always been trump's fixer so to speak and he was hired essentially to fix these problems that may have arisen such as women coming forward accusing the president of sexual assault. accusing him of having affairs during his marriage. so this something that's within character for michael cohen to have done. it makes sense. but we don't know exactly what the money was used for. and of course that is going to be of deep interest to the special counsel, especially as he investigate russia's election interference and whether there was coordination between the campaign and russia. as we know, michael cohen has been accused in that dossier of being a fixer, essentially to
paying off the russians to keep everything quiet. so if this was part of a broader pattern in which he had almost $1 million to play with during the election, what else did he use the money for? >> and katie, i mean does this all hinge upon the fact that the president may not have nope why he was paying over $400,000 a month to michael co-en? how plausible is that? >> two points to respond to that question. one, as a lawyer we're not given slush funds of $1 million to take care of stuff. we're not. you're not acting a as a lawyer when you're doing that you're acting as a fixer. that's important for the attorney/client privilege analysis, that's being invoked as a shield for the case that's pending against michael cohen. two, the special master in the southern district of new york case is going to be going through those documents that were seized in the raid on michael cohen's home, hotel room and office. we're going to find out what that money was used for. if we don't get the answers from that, then trump is going to have to answer themselves in a
deposition, in a civil setting, not maybe with the mueller investigation, who knows what happens with that. but specifically with regards to questions in a deposition during the course of discovery perhaps in stormy daniels, perhaps in some other case. remember, stormy daniels brought a defamation lawsuit this week in the southern district of new york. trump will have to answer why did he pay it, when did he pay it, what did he know about it. and you know what, that's not going to be a good place for him to be in. >> excellent analysis for all of you. thank you so much. coming up next, what the president has done to demoralize his inner circle and undercut chief of staff john kelly. why is the president reportedly turning to outsiders for critical advice? >> we have a great relationship, he's doing a great job as chief of staff. i could not be more happy. to run this business, but i really love it. i'm on the move all day long, and sometimes i don't eat the way i should. so i drink boost to get the nutrition i'm missing. boost high protein now has 33% more protein,
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the ripple effect following the media blitz by president trump's lead attorney, rudy giuliani. giuliani revealed the president reimbursed his personal attorney, michael cohen for the payment to stormy daniels. several reports say white house aides were completely surprised. the president's own press secretary said she learned the news from giuliani's interview. joining me now, chris whipple author of "the gatekeepers." what does this say to you that the president's communications team had no idea what the
president was going to reveal to giuliani. >> complete disarray. the chaos candidate has become the chaos president. and rudy giuliani is now in the mix and the lead attorney has now become the chaos attorney. i mean it's fascinating to me because you've got two guys who are narcissists. and their favorite place is in front of the television camera. and just saying stuff without thinking. that seems to be all there is. in terms of the legal strategy at this point. it's complete chaos. and it just shows that the white house is more dysfunctional by the day. >> and you know the president was getting out and saying look, rudy just started on the job a day ago, trying to explain this whole thing away. but "the new york times" is reporting that the president's own advisers were doubtful of how the president explained the news. what should the president be doing to put together a unified legal team among his staffers. >> maybe he shouldn't have hired another narcissist who loves the
camera as much as he does. but the model for a white house besieged by scandal is really the clinton white house, when you had a deputy chief of staff in charge of a war room full of attorneys who dealt with the monica lewinsky scandal. john podesta and had you a chief of staff named erskine bowles who kept the president focuseding like a laser on governing. try to imagine the word focused in a sentence with donald trump. that's not going to happen. so far, you know kelly has mismanaged the whole thing. >> it appears that he is weakened as chief of staff. despite the president coming out and saying that singing his praises earlier. the two of them side by side on an airport tarmac there. who do you think that has the best chance of controlling this president? does anybody? you've said kelly can't do it. when he was coming into the position as chief of staff, i know we were all singing his praises, because of what his tenure brought leading into the white house. >> well look, it may well be
mission impossible. i mean i think that from day one we all knew that it was, it would be hard for any chief of staff to manage donald trump and kelly hasn't bothered to try. quite frankly. it's become a really bad marriage at this point. and both parties seem to want to just muddle through. donald trump is tired of kelly. and has this dilution that he'll somehow be more effective if he's unchained. without a chief of staff. and kelly seems to be, what he has, what i call the don regan syndrome. don regan was ronald reagan's ill-fated white house chief, who famously said his job was to clean up behind the elephants. you're not supposed to say that kind of thing out loud. kelly started to say it out loud and it hasn't helped his relationship with trump. >> you always help the show, chris whipple. thanks for joining us. up next, a stunning remark president trump said at the nra convention yesterday and on
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but we have the worst laws. we have laws that were written by people that truly could not love our country. >> president trump there rallying against u.s. immigration laws at the nra convention as the trump administration announced it was ending protections for hondurans given temporary rights in 1999. more then 50,000 hondurans with 18 months the leave the united states. let's bring in bazel smickel and sir michael singleton. with the welcome to both of you on this saturday morning. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> sir, what do you make of the president's comment that u.s. immigration laws are written by people who could not love our country? >> you know, the president has a habit of speaking extemporaneously but this is a theme he's repeated time and time again. it is stunning. it's abhorrent in my opinion.
and the scary part about it is that it sort of -- it mirrors a pew research poll saying that individuals, voters in both parties now view the other party as a threat to the united states. and that is -- so when you have the president actually using that kind of terminology, and doubling down on that kind of rhetoric, it's actually very scary and more scary that, in fact, we have had proof that it filters down to candidates running down ballots running in the districts and really troubling. >> there's a new article out headlined after a week of challenges trump reaches for silver linings. is that what's happening here? is the president trying to feed the base giving them what they're looking for? and do you think that will work? >> look, alex. if you look at president trump's presidency thus far, any time he has sort of faced a really tough week in the media the president has done a pretty good job of
pivoting. right? and what's so funny to me is we fall for it and i'm actually glad for once we're not falling into that marketing trap. as we relates to the president's statement, i don't think it's going to work. it works for the base but not for the rest of the country an for the immigration system writ large, the fact it's something done in 1999 points out that we have a lot of issues in our immigration system, alex, and the fact that it's been so many years that the individuals, a great majority of them haven't received some type of permanent status as residents in the country tell me many to do a far greater job trying to perhaps expedite or clean up some of the mechanism that is we have in place currently to get citizenship for individuals who come from countries that are war torn or that have faced a natural devastation. >> if i can add to that quickly, there are five others, as well. haiti included. we need to look out for them, as
well. >> absolutely. >> i agree. >> i want to turn to the "the wall street journal's" report on the president's personal lawyer saying cohen gained access to as much as $774,000 in the presidential campaign. trying to fix problems for the boss. public records show that. the access to the funds came through personal lines of credit he took out. so i want to add that mr. cohen and his lead attorney did not respond to "the wall street journal" for comment but why would michael cohen take that approach for his client? really, he boasts about his own wealth. i mean, sir michael, the president could have paid for these things. >> he could have but what it seems to me, alex, from the outside looking in is michael cohen trying to do this in a way to detach the president from it, right? the president somewhat far removed and wasn't a direct connection to the president. however, i think where he screwed up is investigators are going to look into those
requests from banks to get this money. did he say, you know, we're seeking the funds to perhaps do some revitalization to the home or start a new business or something? now we know the funds were not used for those purposes and now talking about bank fraud. while i think he attempted to elude investigators and the law, quite honestly, i think it comes back and bite him and for the president i think it will only hurt him because at the end of the day what everything michael cohen is facing, alex, two young children, a wife. i cannot imagine this guy is going to be willing to go to prison for donald trump. >> yeah. to what extent does he face that possibility? he outlines the possibility of bank fraud, the loans. whether these loans are related to potential unreported campaign contributions and all the mix-up there. i mean, how damaging might it be for the president? >> well, i think -- owing to rudy giuliani's comments the
other day, i think in their mind they're trying to create distance and perhaps even say it's more of a function of campaign finance irregularities and not anything more -- more nefarious and i think to shermichael's points, there could have been fraud or illegalities done and what's interesting about the president here is we know from the governance he doesn't like to put a lot of people in the middle to sort of buffer, you know, to buffer certain particular groups that are working in different ways on his behalf. he only responds and trusts a very small group of people. so there is -- there is closeness here and that's where the danger comes in because these folks are so close together and these -- again, what's happening with these finances and how they got spent, i don't think there's a huge difference between, you know, line between the president said and what was done. >> all right, guys. thank you so much both of you.
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talk to your doctor today. xfinity x1 customers can "vote for the voice."g, i'm gonna vote for... unless, kelly clarkson, you're a coach, because, you know, that wouldn't be fair. [ whispering ] whatever. which artist will you vote for? vote for... ok, still know it's you. i just wanna vote! cast your vote during every live show. simply say, "vote for the voice" or your favorite artist's name into your x1 voice remote. come on! that's a wrap of this hour. i'm alex witt. see you again at noon eastern. now it's time for "am joy" with my friend joy reid.